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News

IT threat predictions for 2014

Fortinet : 27 November, 2013  (Technical Article)
Fortinet is predicting Android malware on Industrial Control Systems as one of the key threats to watch out for in 2014
IT threat predictions for 2014

Fortinet has revealed FortiGuard Labs’ 2014 security predictions, highlighting 4 threats to watch out for next year.

1 Android Malware Expands to Industrial Control Systems and Internet of Things

As sales of mobile phones likely plateau in the coming years, Android developers are being tasked to find untapped markets for the Google operating system. A few of these emerging markets include tablets, portable game consoles, wearable devices, home automation equipment and industrial control systems (ICS/SCADA). Next year, we predict we’ll see the first instances of malware on these new device types, specifically around embedded ICS/SCADA systems. While we don't believe we'll see a "mobile-Stuxnet" in 2014, we think cybercriminals will be attracted to platforms that go beyond common SMS fraud. This includes new home automation devices that have control over our electrical consumption, the temperature of our fridges, etc. and feature software with remote login control panels to show/confirm who may be at home at a given time. This is bound to give cybercriminals new and nefarious ideas around  how and when to rob someone’s home.

2 Increase in attacks targeting Windows XP

Microsoft will end support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. This means that newly discovered vulnerabilities will not be patched, leaving systems around the world vulnerable to attacks. According to NetMarketShare, as of September 2013, Windows XP is still used on 31.42% of PCs in the world. According to Gartner, by the time April 8 rolls around, it is estimated that more than 15% of mid- to large-sized enterprises will still have Windows XP running on at least 10 percent of their PCs. Next year, we predict hackers, already in possession of zero day exploits, will wait until the 8th in order to sell them to the highest bidder. Because of their expected high price tag, these zero days will likely be used to launch targeted attacks against high-value businesses and individuals rather than deployed by common cybercriminals in order to propagate mass infections.

3 More Botnets Will Migrate From Traditional Command and Control (CnC) Servers to Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Networks

Traditional botnets use client-server (CS) mode to communicate with a CnC server. When a server is detected and taken down, the whole network collapses, making it difficult for bot herders to re-ignite compromised machines. P2P mode takes the servers out of the equation. Each PC in a P2P network could play a server or client role, thus making the botnet harder to dismantle. Major botnets that have migrated to this new model include ZeroAccess, Kelihos, Bublik and Zeus v3. Next year we predict that number to rise significantly.

4 Biometrics for authentication will increase

This year Apple made a bold move when it announced its new iPhone 5s would integrate fingerprint authentication into the device. Never mind that it was hacked a few days after the phone shipped. It got people talking about the importance of two-factor authentication in a world where the single factor password login is growing increasingly archaic. As a result of this renewed interest, we predict next year we’ll see additional mobile companies including a second factor of authentication into their devices. We’ll also see an increase in additional forms of authentication, such as tattoos and pills, iris scanning and facial recognition.

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